In the spirit of Thanksgiving (that fleeting holiday wedged into a small gap between Halloween and the tidal wave known as the Christmas season) I asked a few friends, neighbors and one total stranger in the grocery store, "So, what are you thankful for?" Once they were assured that I would just use their responses and not their names, they relaxed and gave some simple, thoughtful, really random answers. Most of the following list came from them.
I'm thankful that ...
... presidential elections come around just every four years.
... most electronic devices have an "off" switch.
... seasons change.
... my kids have a bedtime.
... time marches on, no matter what.
... there are people, especially local ones, who will run for a political office. That takes a lot of courage. And for incumbents, who know what they're asking for and how really thankless the job is, a dab of insanity. Hats off to all of you, whether you won or not.
... when all else fails, there's always prayer.
... snow melts.
... marriage is still a recognized institution.
... some stores wait until Halloween's over before putting up Christmas stuff. (Which is still ridiculous, but we'll take what we can get).
... some radio stations wait until Thanksgiving's over before playing jingle bell music 24/7.
... I have enough problems in my life that they challenge me, but not so many that they overwhelm me.
... gardens don't grow year-round.
... a really sincere man can always buy roses, day or night -- no excuses.
... time is broken up into 24-hour increments with night following day, which eventually forces us on very bad days to go to bed and start over again in the morning even if we don't feel like it, or brings our very good days to an end so we're reminded that nothing good -- or bad -- lasts forever.
... kids grow up. (That's a two-edged sword).
... justice is always served. It might not be this week or this month or this year or this lifetime, but eventually life balances everything out. There's great comfort in that, especially in no-win situations.
... there's a food pantry nearby where you can accommodate even a passing desire to help someone else by dropping off cans of tuna or soup.
... I have the freedom to read whichever book I choose.
... the Royal Wedding happened. And is done. And over. Finally. Hopefully.
... on the 10-year anniversary of 9-11, people still hung their flags, still sang patriotic songs, and still recommitted to whatever they strongly believe.
... I can buy oranges in December.
...there are announcements in the newspaper of people celebrating their 50th wedding anniversaries. That gives me hope.
Here's a Thanksgiving thought for the day: Contented people know that what they already have is good, and enough.
That's a pretty sensible attitude to take into the Christmas season.
You may contact Louise Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling her editor at 801-625-4223.